The Accessibility Resource Centre was created in August 2008. It is funded by the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care through the Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integrated Network ( LHIN)’s Aging at Home Program.

This Centre serves Seniors 65+ and 55+ with age related illness at no charge across Simcoe County and Muskoka. ARC was established to provide guidance and information to seniors as they take necessary steps required to remain in their own homes, as they age.

ARC educates and assists people by searching out the best solutions for their unique needs, and is intended to complement and support existing health care services.

The following categories will provide some information on the subjects covered by the Centre:

Resource Center

Assistive Device Exchange

Assistive Device Exchange – WEBSITE
Accessible Home Renovations

Would you be able to stay in your home if you needed a wheelchair to get around?

Do you have problems getting in and out of your bathtub?

Home modification involves adapting a home so that a person with disabilities can perform the activities of daily living as safely and comfortably as possible, while maintaining some degree of independence.

The modification can be simple — removing scatter rugs to prevent slips and falls — or complex — installing a stair lift or elevator to improve accessibility. The type of modification required will depend on the nature of the individual’s disabilities and the physical set-up of the home. An investment in home modification may eliminate or possibly delay the need for institutional care.

Let us guide you through this process – call today.
1-800-465-1133 or 705-737-3263 ext. 239

Vehicle Modifications

What are vehicle modifications?

Vehicle Modifications involve alterations to a vehicle, such as a car or van, to allow a person with a disability to enter it and/or drive it.

Most vehicles can be modified, but the types of vehicles and modifications appropriate for each driver are based completely on individual need and preference as well as the type of mobility device that needs to be accommodated within the vehicle. Some vehicles won’t work at all. It is really important to know what mobility devices a person will be using now as well as in the future to be sure that the chosen vehicle will still work for the individuals needs.

Assessments are extremely important to ensure personal safety, and it can’t be stressed enough how unique each person’s needs are; five people with the same disability will require five different modifications, and possibly even five different vehicles. What’s more, a proper evaluation will save you a lot of money you might have wasted on the wrong equipment.

Here is What to Expect from a Driving Assessment

    1. First, an occupational therapist who is a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist (in a driver rehabilitation program) will do a thorough assessment of person including looking at his/her mobility equipment (wheelchair, scooter, rollator walker, etc). The assessment takes a few hours and includes assessing the person’s physical abilities, visual abilities, as well as cognitive and perceptual assessment. This information is needed to determine what equipment and strategies may be needed prior to going out for the on-road assessment.
    2. Then, depending on ability, an on-the-road driving evaluation is performed, using adaptive equipment when appropriate.
    3. Based on demonstrated driving performance, a prescription for vehicle modifications is written, which includes a description of the vehicle and any mobility aid (wheelchair or scooter) used.
    4. Driver training is required to learn to use the adaptive equipment safely. Driver’s will need sufficient practice and training to operate a motor vehicle on roadways similar to all other drivers on the road. The driver will then need to demonstrate his/her competence at their local driver exam centre to have the restrictive codes placed on his/her license which allows him/her to drive with the equipment.
    5. Finally a vehicle inspection and operational assessment is performed in the newly modified vehicle to ensure that the driver can handle all of the new equipment and that it has been positioned properly for safe, efficient use.

Let us guide you through this process – call today.

1-800-465-1133 or 705-737-3263 ext. 239

Indentifying Different Funding Sources

Funding for accessibility – Who pays?

A variety of funding sources are available to individuals who need to purchase assistive devices, modify a vehicle or modify a home to enable independent and safe living.

The Government of Canada has funding available for home modifications.

The Government of Ontario offers funding assistance through the Assistive Device Program as well as through Home and Vehicle Modification Program.

Local Service Clubs and non-profit organizations are sometimes able to offer financial assistance for acquiring these products.

Let us guide you through this process – call today.
1-800-465-1133 or 705-737-3263 ext. 239

Assistive Devices – Don’t Give Up, Get Up and Get Out!


We all know life is about “change” and aging is one of them. How are you going to journey through these inevitable changes? The good news is that you have a choice! You can move through this adventure kicking and screaming or with dignity and grace.

How you ask? Get your assistive device out of the closet and use it.

If you were asked to name an assistive device what would come to mind? A cane, a walker, a wheelchair maybe? Chances are you didn’t think of glasses, a hand held shower or even lever handles on doors or faucets.

What was the first assistive device? Our ancestors needed fire… they couldn’t wait for a bolt of lightning to pierce the sky so they picked up two sticks and started rubbing them together. Poof! Fire! Okay and maybe some blisters, but eventually another assistive device was invented that was easier, faster and required less energy ….the match!

That’s what an assistive device is all about! Not to make you look vulnerable or sick, but to make life easier so you can move through your day using less effort and have more energy to do the things you really want to do.

Many see the use of a walker as representation of their declining ability. The reality is that not using assitive devices greatly reduces a person’s quality of life and puts them at risk of a serious injury from falls.

We have the power to change the negative perception associated with assistive devices. Promote the use of canes, walkers, grab bars, flashing light ring indicators on phones and many more. Talk it up! Use them when you need to. The reality is that using any assitive device is proof of your wisdom! Be proud and show the world that you know what it takes to continue enjoying all the things life has to offer. Live a full, independent, and safe life!

A walker does not mean “Life is over”. A walker means; “Get out of my way, I’ve got things to do!”

If you would like to discuss your unique needs and have question about assistive devices, please contact:

The Accessibility Resource Centre, Independent Living Services
705-737-3263, ext.239 or

Falls Prevention

The North Simcoe Muskoka Integrated Regional Falls Program (NSM IRFP)

This is a community based falls prevention program which runs in the Orillia, Barrie, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Midland, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville and surrounding areas.

The primary goal is keeping seniors safe by reducing the risk of falls and falls related injuries. The IRFP see clients who have had a fall or have a fear of falling and provide the following:

• “falls risk assessment
• community resource information and specific recommendations to clients and their family physicians as required.
• for clients who have been seen for a fall in an emergency department in our region, we have emergency department support nurses who make contact with the client to provide falls risk evaluation and support, which may include a home assessment”

The IRFP also offers Community Falls screening clinics within this region. At these clinics, clients are individually seen by a registered nurse and/or physiotherapist. The program also has a staff clinical pharmacist who provides medication consultation.

For clients with a more complicated medical history the program also runs a specialized assessment clinic where referrals to geriatricians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists are possible.

Contact Information:
North Simcoe Muskoka Integrated Regional Falls Program Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital
170 Colborne St W
Orillia, On L3V 2Z3
Phone: 705-325-2201 ex 3851
Toll Free: 1-877-665-6065
Fax: 705-330-3201

North Simcoe Muskoka Integrated Regional Falls Program Bulletin

IRFP Bulletin Apr 12
IRFP Bulletin Dec 11
IRFP Bulletin Feb 12
 IRFP Bulletin Oct 11
IRFP Summer 2012

September Falls Newsletter

Prevention Information and Resources in Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka
Brought to you by Staying Independent Falls Prevention Coalition and 211 – a Community Based Partnership.

Click link to find information on falls prevention programs, services and resources for older adults and health care providers within Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka

Falls Prevention Information

Falls Safety & Prevention North Simcoe Muskoka CCAC

CCAC has developed this Safe at Home video to educate our clients on possible safety risks in the home, and how they can protect themselves.

Part 7 Falls Safety & Prevention North Simcoe Muskoka CCAC

Home First – North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integrated Network

This is about providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time, at the right cost. Too often, seniors in our LHIN are waiting in hospitals and entering long-term care homes with health care needs that can be safely met in their homes, with the proper home care support. Home First is not meant to replace a hospital stay or an admission to a long-term care home. As always, the type of care an individual needs is the key factor in any decision about where they should be receiving that care.

Click below to view a video on Home First – produced by the NSM LHIN, NSM CCAC, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and Georgian Bay General Hospital.

“Recovering From a Fall”

“youtube Recovering from a Fall”

For more information on Home First, please contact the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN at 1-866-903-5446.

Activities for Seniors to Improve Balance, Strength and Flexibility

Activities from the Strategies and Actions for Independent Living (SAIL) Program developed by the British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit.

Exercise at the Kitchen Sink Part 1

Exercise at the Kitchen Sink Part 2

Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know


Download a copy of British Columbia Institute of Technology’s free Seniors Kit and Safety Tips, with valuable information about mobility devices:

•Answers to frequently asked questions

•Tips on what to ask your health care provider

•Details on canes, walkers, scooters, grab bars and hip protectors

•Tips on bathroom safety and winter safety

•Tips to keep healthy and independent

•Details on how to be safe as a pedestrian

•Safe scooter use

Mobility Seniors Kit


Download a copy of British Columbia Institute of Technology’s free Boomer kit, with valuable information on:

•Tough conversations guide: guide on how to get your parent(s) thinking about using mobility device

•Tips to help determine if your parent has mobility issues

•Information on mobility devices (click on seniors kit links above)

Mobility Baby Boomer Kit

44 Cedar Pointe Drive, Unit 1102 Barrie, Ontario  L4N 5R7
Tel:  705-737-3263   TTY: 705-737-3242   Fax:  705-737-1874  1-800-465-1133